For ages the battle of Rostam and White Deev has been one of the most popular subjects among Iranian book illustrators, tile-makers, and coffee-house painters.

In the Persian epic of Shahnameh, Div-e Sepid (White Demon) is the chieftain of the Deevs of Mazandaran. He is a huge being and is skilled in sorcery. He destroys the army of Kay Kavus by conjuring a dark storm of hail, boulders, and tree trunks. He then captures Kay Kavus, his commanders, and paladins; he blinds them and imprisons them in a dungeon. The greatest Persian mythical hero Rostam undertakes his “Seven Labours” to free his sovereign. In the end, Rostam slays Deev-e Sefid and uses his heart and blood to cure the blindness of the king and the captured Persian heroes. Rostam also takes the Deev’s head as a helmet and is often pictured wearing it.

✤ Also available in: Persian

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